Human Oncology & Pathogenesis Program

The Piro Lito Lab


Piro Lito, MD, PhD
Piro Lito, MD, PhD

Our group studies the properties of oncoproteins that drive cancer cell growth, focusing on lung cancer and other solid tumors. We are interested in understanding how these are activated, their regulatory mechanisms, and how they modulate the behavior of cancer cells. To answer these questions we utilize small molecule inhibitors coupled with biochemical and genetic approaches in patient-derived cell line or xenograft model systems. We aim to provide insight into the fundamental processes that govern tumor biology and to identify therapeutic interventions that will prolong survival and improve the quality of life in patients with cancer. 

Research Projects

Lito Lab Group Photo

Publications Highlights

Schulze C, Seamon KJ, Zhao Y, Yang YC, Cregg J, Kim DS, Tomlinson A, Choy TS, Wang Z, Sang B, Pourfarjam Y, Lucas J, Cuevas Navarro A, Ayala Santos C, Vides A, Marquez A, Zhong M, Vemulapalli V, Weller C, Gould A, Whalen D, Salvador A, Saldajeno-Concar M, Dinglasan N, Chen A, Evans J, Knox JE, Koltun ES, Li C, Singh M, Nichols R, Wildes D, Gill AL, Smith JAM and Lito P. Chemical remodeling of a cellular chaperone to target the active state of mutant KRAS. Science 2023 Aug 18;381(6659):794-799. doi: 10.1126/science.adg9652. Epub 2023 Aug 17. PMID: 37590355

Kim D, Herdeis L, Rudolph D, Zhao Y, Böttcher J, Vides A, Ayala-Santos C, Pourfarjam Y, Mantoulidis A, Wolkerstorfer B, Kroatisch KG, Sang B, Li C, McConnell DB, Kraut N and Lito P. Pan KRAS inhibitor selectively inactivates oncogenic signaling and tumor growth.  Nature. 2023 Jul;619(7968):160-166 31. doi: 10.1038/s41586-023-06123-3. PMID: 37258666

Zhao Y, Murciano-Goroff Y, Xue Y, Ang A, Lucas J, Da Cruz Paula A, Mai T, Sisk A, Arora K, Roy R, Kim D, Li C, Lim L, Li M, Bahr A, Loomis B, de Stanchina E, Reis-Filho J, Weigelt B, Berger M, Riely G, Arbour K, Lipford R, Li B and Lito P. Diverse genetic alterations associated with resistance to KRAS(G12C) inhibition.Nature. 2021 Nov 10; 599(7886):679-683. doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-04065-2 PMID: 34759319

Li C, Vides A, Kim D, Xue J, Zhao Y and Lito P. The G-protein signaling regulator RGS3 enhances the GTPase activity of KRAS. Science. 2021 Oct 8;374(6564):197-201 PMID: 34618566 

Xue JY, Zhao Y, Aronowitz J, Mai TT, Vides A, Qeriqi B, Kim D, Li C, de Stanchina E, Mazutis L, Risso D, Lito P. Rapid non-uniform adaptation to conformation-specific KRAS(G12C) inhibition. Nature. 2020;577(7790):421-5. doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1884-x. PMID: 31915379

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Piro Lito, MD, PhD

Piro Lito, MD, PhD

  • Physician-scientist Piro Lito studies oncoproteins that drive cancer cell growth.
  • MD, PhD, Michigan State University
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Physician profile


Kathryn C. Arbour

Assistant Attending

Antonio Cuevas-Navarro, PhD

Research Fellow

Feng Hu, PhD

Research Fellow

Dongsung Kim
Dongsung Kim, PhD

Research Associate

Camila Mafla-Gonzalez

Research Technician

Yonina Murciano-Goroff MD, DPhil

Assistant Attending

Yasin Pourfarjam
Yasin Pourfarjam, PhD

Research Fellow

Diego Rodriguez

Tri-I MD/PhD Student

Ben Sang, PhD

Research Fellow

Rohit Thummalapalli, MD

Medical Oncology Fellow

Alberto Vides, BS
Alberto Vides

Laboratory Manager

Jingjing Xie, PhD

Research Fellow

Lab Alumni
Carlos Ayala Santos
Carlos Ayala Santos

Research Technician

Chuanchuan Li, PhD
Chuanchuan Li

Research Associate

Jessica Lucas
Jessica Lucas

Research Technician

Yaohua (Jenny) Xue
Yaohua (Jenny) Xue

Tri-I MD/PhD student

Yulei Zhao
Yulei Zhao

Research Associate

Lab Affiliations


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  • Pew-Stewart Scholar for Cancer Research (2019)
  • Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator (2017)
  • The V Foundation for Cancer Research, Translational Research Award (2015)
  • LUNGevity Foundation, Career Development Award (2015)
  • NIH K08, Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award (2015)
  • Stand up to Cancer Lung Cancer Dream Team, Young Investigator (2015)
  • Conquer Cancer Foundation, Young Investigator Award (2013)
  • Charles A. Dana Fellow/Clinical Scholar in Biomedical Research (2011)

Open Positions

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Postdoctoral Positions

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Doctors and faculty members often work with pharmaceutical, device, biotechnology, and life sciences companies, and other organizations outside of MSK, to find safe and effective cancer treatments, to improve patient care, and to educate the health care community.

MSK requires doctors and faculty members to report (“disclose”) the relationships and financial interests they have with external entities. As a commitment to transparency with our community, we make that information available to the public.

Piro Lito discloses the following relationships and financial interests:

  • AmMax Bio, Inc.
    Professional Services and Activities
  • Black Diamond Therapeutics, Inc.
    Professional Services and Activities
  • Boehringer Ingelheim
    Professional Services and Activities
  • Frontier Medicines Corporation
    Equity; Professional Services and Activities
  • Ikena Oncology
    Professional Services and Activities
  • OrbiMed
    Professional Services and Activities
  • Repare Therapeutics
    Professional Services and Activities
  • Revolution Medicines
    Professional Services and Activities

The information published here is for a specific annual disclosure period. There may be differences between information on this and other public sites as a result of different reporting periods and/or the various ways relationships and financial interests are categorized by organizations that publish such data.

This page and data include information for a specific MSK annual disclosure period (January 1, 2022 through disclosure submission in spring 2023). This data reflects interests that may or may not still exist. This data is updated annually.

Learn more about MSK’s COI policies here. For questions regarding MSK’s COI-related policies and procedures, email MSK’s Compliance Office at [email protected].

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